Through the Ministry of Education (MoE), the central government incurs a monthly cost of GH¢6.3 million on free Wi-Fi programme in government Senior High Schools (SHSs), Africa Education Watch (EduWatch) has disclosed.
In a report published on the free Wi-fi programme, the education thin tank indicated that about 78 per cent of the 138 public Senior High Schools (SHSs) that responded to a survey on the Wi-Fi system did not have a functioning Wi-Fi.
The report stated that a random sample of 150 Senior High Schools out of the 717 that received connectivity was undertaken, out of which 138 (92%) key informants who are staff of the schools responded to the survey instrument.
The schools include St. Augustine’s College, Presby Boys SHS – Legon, Bishop Herman College, St. John’s Grammar SHS, Ejisu Senior High Technical School (SHTS), Bekwai SHS, Bolgatanga Technical Institute, Akatsi SHTS, Wa SHS, and Ola SHS, among others.
However, in 22 per cent of the schools, including Bongo SHS, Krachi SHS, Akuse Methodist SHTS, Akrofuom SHTS, Amenfiman SHS, Manya Krobo SHS, Kurofa Methodist SHS, Odupong SHS, J. E. A Mills SHS, and St. Mary’s Seminary SHS, the Wi-Fi facility was working and accessible.
“The free Wi-Fi facility has enhanced access to the internet for academic research and administrative communication, however, interventions to improve programme efficiency are critically required,” Africa Education Watch said in the report.
EduWatch added that “given that MoE incurs a monthly cost of GH¢6.3 million on the programme, and two-thirds of sampled SHS did not have functioning Wi-Fi, with some having downtime spanning over a year, gives a strong indication of low programme efficiency.”
On recommendations to make the free Wi-fi programme value for money, the Watch said efforts must be made to extend the Wi-Fi coverage to classrooms. This will ensure real-time access to the internet by teachers when teaching.
The Education Policy Research and Advocacy Organization (EduWatch) also suggested the Auditor-General must commission a performance audit into the free Wi-Fi programme to ascertain its full-scale efficiency and advise accordingly.
“The Ministry of Education must strengthen the system for verifying the quality of service provided by Busy Internet Ghana Ltd., based on which payments are made for their service. This must include monthly reports from all user institutions on the functioning of their Wi-Fi facilities,” it added.